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Renowned poet Odia Ofeimun addressing guests recently at a the presentation of “White Lagos” at PAGE Book Connoisseurs

The Committee for Relevant Art (CORA) has announced the an afternoon of readings for poets long-listed for the annual Nigeria Prize for Literature, administered since 2004 by the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG).

In a release signed by CORA’s Programme Officer, Samuel Osaze, the reading will take place on Sunday August 6th at the recently-opened Terra Kulture Arena on Victoria Island at 2 p.m.

Following an already established four-year cycle, this year’s prize will be for works published in the poetry genre, and there are 11 authors on the long list: Peter Akinlabi  (Iconography); Ogaga Ifowodo (A Good Mourning); Obari Gomba (For Every Homeland); Hyginius Ekwuazi (One Day I’ll Dare to Raise My Middle Finger at the Stork and the Reaper);  Lari Williams (Trips);  Humphrey Ogu (Echoes of Neglect); Tanure Ojaide (Songs of Myself:Quartet); Ikeogu Oke (The Heresaid); Abubakar Othman (Bloodstreams in the Desert); Jumoke Verissimo (The Birth of Illusion);  Ebi Yeibo (Of Waters and The Wild).

“[The book-trek] is an afternoon of literary feasting, featuring performances, wining and dining,” say organisers, adding that “[It] celebrates the authors and their works for emerging as some of the very best in the country.”

The Trek, now in it’s eight year, was launched to create a platform through which the public could engage with the works that make it to the semi final of the prize. At inception, the prize was was $20,000; it was later increased to $30,000 and $50,000 and, since 2011, comes at a staggering $100,000.

A call for entries was announced in early in February and by the deadline in May, 184 entries were submitted to the NLNG office in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

“We believe that the prize has inspired writers to want to deliberately win the prize,” says NLNG’s General Manager (External Relations), Kudo Eresia-Eke,

“This has led to the proliferation of books and increased the quality of books. The spiralling effect of this is the boost to literacy and education in the country, the foundation of cultural and socio-economic revolution.”